SOCIAL CIRCLE -- The start of the new year will also bring a new mayor and city council in Social Circle.
Hal Dally was elected mayor in Tuesday's election, garnering more than 52 percent of the vote out of a field of four candidates vying for the open seat currently held by Jim Burgess, who opted not to seek re-election.
"It's tough when you have four people running for office to win without a runoff," Dally said Tuesday night after the election results were posted.
"Everyone ran a good race; it was clean and I appreciate that. .... I'm humbled by the support of the citizens and I'm ready to meet with the current mayor and council and go through transition phase and be brought up to speed on issues in the process."
Dally faced opposition from Barron Steward, who came in second with nearly 23 percent of the vote, Hosea Jackson and Joel Biggs.
Dally ran on a platform of building on the successes of recent years by keeping taxes low while providing essential services to the citizens and attracting more industrial and commercial growth to the city.
According to the unofficial election results posted by Walton County, 818 of the city's 2,239 active registered voters cast ballots in the mayoral race.
City Clerk Susan Roper said this election showed higher-than-normal turnout for off-year elections.
The last time there was a contested race in the city was in 2007, when Councilwoman Anne Peppers faced opposition for the District 4 seat and Mayor Burgess ran unopposed, Roper said.
"There were 71 votes for mayor and 88 votes for District 4 that year," she said.
Peppers did not seek re-election this time around. Former Police Chief Steve Shelton and businessman Crenan Mills squared off for the open seat.
Shelton received 121 of the 228 votes cast in that race, garnering 53 percent of the vote.
"I would like to thank the citizens for electing me, and I hope I can do a good job -- a job the citizens deserve," he said Wednesday.
Earlier this year, Shelton filed a lawsuit against the city of Social Circle and City Manager Doug White. His allegations stem from his time as chief of police. Shelton said during the campaign that the lawsuit would not impact his ability to serve the residents in District 4 and he would only need to recuse himself from discussions about the lawsuit.
He also said on Wednesday that he was confident that he could work effectively with the city manager.
"As long as they bring something that is feasible, I don't see any problem with anything like that," Shelton said. "If it's good for the city and for my constituents, I will be in favor of it, but it's got to be good for the citizens."